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ACRL Board Manual 2022-2023

Board Manual for the ACRL Board of Directors.

5.6 Roles & Responsibilities: Executive Director

Association Operations
  1. Informs the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, members, and others on the conditions of the association and all important factors influencing it.
  2. Plans, formulates, and recommends for the approval of the Board of Directors basic policies and programs that will further the organization's objectives.
  3. Executes all decisions of the Board of Directors except when other assignments are specifically made by the Board.
  4. Attends all the meetings of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. In consultation with presidents, prepares Board and Executive Committee meeting agendas. Is responsible for Board and Executive Committee meeting records, and annual report for the membership, in addition to regular reports to the Board of Directors.
  5. Refers all issues, problems, financial questions, or ancillary considerations that may arise exceeding defined level of authority to the Executive Committee and Board.
  6. In cooperation with the Budget and Finance Committee, develops, recommends, and, upon approval, operates within an annual budget. Ensures that all funds, physical assets, and other property of the association are appropriately safeguarded and administered, and is responsible for financial management, including planning, purchases, receipts, disbursement, reports, and analysis.
  7. Provides the necessary liaison and staff support to the Board and committees to enable them to properly perform their functions. Sees that committees’ decisions and recommendations are submitted to the Board of Directors.
  8. Develops, for purposes of day-to-day administration, specific policies, procedures, and programs to effectively and efficiently implement the general policies established by the Board of Directors.
  9. Executes such contracts and commitments as may be authorized by the Board of Directors.
  10. Recruits, hires, trains, and motivates association staff personnel, and is responsible for all promotions and terminations.
  11. Obtains maximum utilization of staff by clearly defining their duties, establishing performance standards, conducting performance reviews, and encouraging ALA to maintain a competitive compensation structure.
  12. Carries out such other general responsibilities as may be delegated by the officers and the Board of Directors.
  13. Participates in regular conference calls with officers.
Communication- about ACRL to its units and to ALA
  1. Every third year serves on the ALA Senior Management team. Note: Currently serving consecutive years on ALA Senior Management during the transition period to a new ALA Executive Director.
  2. Represents the association by establishing and maintaining effective relationships with other organizations external to ALA—both public and private—and sees that the positions of the association are enhanced in accordance with the policies and objectives of each organization.
  3. Maintains effective relationships between ACRL and ALA and its divisions. Shares information, communicates concerns, participates in governance through attending meeting such as:
    • ALA Planning and Budgeting Assembly,
    • Joint meeting of ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) and the divisions.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR                                                                  

The Board establishes a close relationship with the executive director. The executive director and staff provide informational reports and recommendations to help the Board make and implement its decisions. During meetings, the executive director is consulted for advice and information.

The executive director reports regularly, both verbally and in writing, to the Board in order to provide Board members with current information and news. The executive director may also schedule regular calls (weekly, bi-weekly) with the president and other ACRL officers.

Executive Director’s Ex-officio and liaison responsibilities
  • Ex-officio member of the Executive Committee
  • Ex-officio member of the Board of Directors
  • Ex-officio member of Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee
  • ACRL liaison to ALA Planning and Budget Assembly (PBA)
  • Ex-officio member of the Budget & Finance Committee
  • Staff liaison to External Liaisons Committee and Liaisons Assembly.

Executive director performance evaluation

The ACRL officers and Board members evaluate the performance of the executive director annually. The Board adopted the current evaluation process in 2007. The review is based upon the following:

  • Written evaluations prepared by the officers of the Board.
  • Board assessment using the ALA Performance Evaluation form.
  • Beginning in 2005, the officers determined that the executive director’s goal was to advance the strategic plan. Quarterly Plan for Excellence Activity Reports (PEAR) list activities undertaken to advance the plan are provided in each Board meeting packet.

The president of the association is responsible for informing ALA administration on the performance of the executive director. The president develops a written evaluation and submits it to the Board officers for review and approval prior to submitting it to ALA administration.

The performance evaluation of the executive director and all associated documents regarding the evaluation are confidential.


The Executive Director is charged with advancing ACRL’s strategic plan the Plan for Excellence. This timeline identifies the Board’s role in the evaluation process and is available on the ACRL website on the Guide to Policy and Procedure Chapter 15 Section 1.

October (Fall Exec)

Executive Director prepares Plan for Excellence Activities Report and submits to Board.


January (prior to MW)

Executive Director prepares Plan for Excellence Activities Report and submits to Board.


Midwinter Meeting

Officers (President, vice-president, and past president) review progress to date and confer with Executive Director regarding any necessary midyear adjustments (e.g., unexpected emergencies or opportunities, ALA-directed changes) and/or concerns.


April/May (Spring Exec)

Executive Director prepares Plan for Excellence Activities Report and submits to Board.


May 15

Competencies used by ALA in its performance appraisal system sent out by ACRL President to Board Members.


Executive Director prepares Plan for Excellence Activities Report and submits to Board.

President compiles competencies ratings and comments submitted by the ACRL Board.

Annual Conference

Board convenes Executive Session at the close of the first ACRL Board meeting to review performance of Executive Director.

President discusses annual evaluations with Executive Director, outlines priority areas for coming year, and highlights any areas requiring particular direction by the Executive Director.

July 15

President submits a letter conveying the Board’s performance assessment for Executive Director to ALA Executive Director.

Approved ACRL Executive Committee, October 2007

Sample executive director review form

Competency Assessment for Management Employees

(from the ALA Performance Appraisal System)

Rating Scale




Exceptional – Consistently exceeds all performance expectations; provides leadership, fosters teamwork, is highly productive, innovative, responsible for and generates very high quality work; also gained new knowledge to benefit themselves/department. The employee is consistently viewed as a role model not only within their department, but throughout the association.


Exceeds Expectations – Consistently meets and often exceeds all performance expectations; shows initiative, works collaboratively and is often seen as role model for others in the department.


Meets Expectations – Meets all relevant performance expectations


Below Expectations – Sometimes meets performance expectations. Performance is often inconsistent and needs/receives coaching on a regular basis.


Expectations Not Met – Consistently fails to meet performance expectations



Major Category



Knowledge and Productivity

Establishes employee’s knowledge surrounding their job and the associated work productivity.

Job Knowledge: Shows comprehensive knowledge of skills needed to carry out responsibilities of their job. In addition, the employee is well aware of company policies and adheres to accordingly. Employee uses specialized knowledge to effectively complement that of member leaders and volunteers, who value the employee’s contributions. Employee is also considered a resource for others to turn towards based on their job knowledge. Employee also stays up to date with changes in their job. Employee recommends enhancements to the job for the betterment of the department/company.

Technical Knowledge: Applies specialized knowledge gained through training and experience; keeps informed of new developments in the field; shares relevant information with others. The employee is also proficient in the software they use in their job. Uses IT as a strategic resource

Quality of Work: Work is clear, well-organized, and accurate, performed as directed, and conforms to established standards.

Quantity of Work: The employee is able to manage their normal workload and at times is able to accept additional work and continue to meet established deadlines.

Dependability and Reliability: Conscientious, responsible, employee comes to work on time and is focused on their job throughout the day with minimal disruptions. They can also be counted on to complete their work on a timely basis and keep their supervisor informed when delays occur. This employee is also considered a go to person within their department.


Initiative and Problem Solving

Establishes employee’s Initiative and Problem-Solving Skills to their work

Initiative: Originates or develops ideas or gets things started; shows willingness to tackle new challenges, seeks additional assignments, responds effectively to unusual or particularly demanding situations.

Problem Solving and Decision Making: Shows ability to obtain information needed to make a decision; exercises sound judgment; shows decisiveness in recommending or taking action. The employee is resourceful in finding solutions to challenging problems. In addition, when this employee has a problem, they look to solve it before asking their supervisor and will also come to their supervisor with potential answers.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Adjusts to new assignments and changing workloads, working to maximum potential. Employee also demonstrates the flexibility to adapt to change as well as the drive to initiate and lead change

Service Orientation: A desire to help or serve customers, to meet their needs. Focuses one's efforts on discovering and meeting the customer's or member’s needs with sensitivity and understanding. Employee exhibits an understanding of ALA’s member leader and volunteer culture/structure and serves all member groups appropriately and effectively



Demonstrates strong communication skills among fellow employees, external stakeholders and members.

Oral Communication: Employee demonstrates strong two way (speaking & listening) communication skills. Information and ideas are conveyed in a clear and timely manner. Employee is an articulate contributor in meetings, and an organized and compelling presenter (if required in the position).

Written Communication: Employee has a clear, effective, concise, and well-organized writing ability. Written communications are free of errors. Employee also effectively manages email ensuring that their emails convey proper messaging and are sent to the appropriate people. Employee understands and employs different writing styles appropriately for different purposes and audiences.

Listening Skills: Employee is an active and attentive listener; shows genuine interest and when appropriate, empathy is shown when listening to others; they exhibit appropriate nonverbal behavior to show receptivity; employee improves communication through paraphrasing, reflecting and summarizing; questions are asked to clarify other people’s points of view; listens without interrupting; when in a group setting, listens to others opinions and does not dominate the conversation.

Working with Others: Cooperates with other individuals and groups internally and externally, as appropriate; solicits, understands, and respects the opinions of others. Understands the team concept; is sought after by others to work collaboratively on projects; is viewed as a team player. Understands the importance of a membership organization. Employee actively encourages others to share their thoughts in an honest non-threatening forum. Employee exhibits an understanding of ALA’s member leader and volunteer culture/structure and serves all member groups appropriately and effectively. Employee is easily approachable. The employee is eagerly sought out by others to assist on projects, reports, etc.


Strategic Focus

Employee understands the nature of the Association and how their role impacts day to day operations; also understands the relationship between their area and others within the company.

Vision: The employee has a clear understanding of the business from a strategic perspective. The employee understands how their department’s relationship with other departments impacts the day to day operations of the business. In addition, as the priorities of the department and business change, the employee understands the change and adapts to it.

Planning: Accurately forecasts relevant operating and business conditions; establishes productive objectives, strategies, and plans; develops effective budgets; establishes priorities; develops efficient work schedules and plans.

Change: Employee is comfortable with ambiguity within a changing environment ensuring that when changes occur they are embraced and are applied to their job. The employee can also explain the changes to others in an understandable manner. Has a fundamental curiosity and understanding of the Association that they are a part of.

Change (Employee Supervisors Only): Understands own role in the change process; understands and addresses reactions and resistance to change; effectively communicates change; leverages the involvement of key stake holders; involves others in decision making and implementation of change; establishes structures and roles to support change.